Kin Lane

Being Our Own Worst Enemies

I have learned a lot in recent years about how I have been my own worst enemy over the course of my life. I would say watching the Trump impeachment drama unfold is something that shinning a light for me on how people, and particularly how isolated people can regularly be their own worst enemies. If you asked me while I was growing up whether I had a conservative or liberal upbringing, I would always say liberal, but as I get older I realize just how conservative and isolated my views of the world were. I would say my view was more isolated, which is something that is much more than just being about geography. It was an uneducated and isolated view of the world that allowed me to regularly get in my own way when it came to liberating myself from it all, regularly making broad declarations about what I am capable of, of how the world works, about places that I had never been were like, what people who I had no exposure to were all about, and how government and business operated—when in reality I had no clue about what was going on. Standing in my own way of being exposed to new ideas, places, people, and actually learning how things work, repeatedly doubling down on my own isolation and ignorance.

I have been my own worst enemy for many years, only recently (last 10 years) have I been working overtime to learn more about how I can get out of my own way. Working harder to get out of my when it comes to the advancement of my career, how much money I’m able to make, and stop being being happy with having the wool pulled over my eyes when it comes to race, class, and gender. I’m thankful that since about the age of 12 I have had this underlying drive to get out of the town I grew up in, seeking more, even though I had no clue what I was looking for. If I hadn’t had this, I’m guessing I would have stayed in or nearby the rural community I grew up in, fallen in line as one of Trumps followers, or at least one of the ignorant folks who takes themselves out the conversation by not voting for the lesser of two evils, and playing into the hands of Trumps voter demobilization strategy. I would see Trumps repeated moves to be his own worst enemy as the world’s fault, just as I would see of my own actions. The friction I would create for myself wouldn’t be my fault, and as a fragile white male it would always be the world’s fault. Just leave him alone! Just leave people like me alone! Despite our inability to leave ourselves alone, as well as the undeserving masses negatively impacted by the white male club that I sadly belong to, and will work the rest of my life to apologize for.

The scope of ignorance and obstacles I placed in front of myself didn’t become evident until I went to Washington DC to work. Until I actually began learning more about what government is, what it does, and lower my ignorant rural anti-government guard, I didn’t see the scope of the wall my belief systems had placed in between me and the rest of the world. At the same time I was learning more about government in the US, several other fronts also began shifting for me, challenging my beliefs around sex, race, gender, and every other underpinning of my reality—including my own physical and mental health. All of this awakening collided with the 2016 election, which sent me into a tailspin, forcing me to work overtime on processing my own shit, but also thinking differently about same illnesses which plagued the friends and family I grew up with. Grappling with the ways in which we all become our own worst enemies. Refusing to pay taxes for education, healthcare, roads, and other things that ultimately make our lives better, and allow our chains to be more easily yanked by the forces in the world that would prefer to keep us down, out of the way, and benefitting from us being our own worst enemies.

As I approach 50, I’ve come to realize how most of my fears of the world were incited by me. I can close my eyes and look back to the 19 year old version of myself, and see how my love and fascination with guns was more about my self-induced fears and insecurities, then it was ever about the gun itself, or how it protects me from the world. I can see how my distrust of government was more about my own ignorance of what governance is, and how susceptible I was to the stories swirling around me. Revealing how lazy and willfully ignorant I was at that age. I can see that I didn’t go to college because of road blocks I put in front of my own reality. That I didn’t stray far from my hometown for too long because I was insecure about what I was truly capable of, and what my own self worth was. Something people around me invested in, ensuring I didn’t stray too far, for too long, so that misery had company. I didn’t realize the scope of how I would be punished for my successes, and rewarded for my inadequacies and shortcomings. I only recently realized how isolation teaches us to be our own enemies. I’m not just talking about geographic isolation, but culturally, and succumbing to the comforting feeling of being around people just like me.

I still excel at being my own worst enemy. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not magically healed because I live in the city, became more literate in how government, business, and other social circles work. I still trip myself up on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. I just see it a lot more now. It isn’t something that the world does to me. It is something I do to myself. I don’t spend as much time blaming other people, and being angry at the world in general. I don’t fall prey to bullshit, scams, drama, ad other ways in which I can introduce friction into my reality. I am more thoughtful about the actions I take, and more confident in my gut, as well as the voices in my head. I’m thankful for the lessons being shown to me on the big screen right now about how much damage I’ve inflicted on myself, and allowed in my life by remaining in the tractor beam of other folks who refuse to grow, learn, and evolve. However, it does make me sad to think about how much suffering some people I care about have to go through because of their stubborn insistence on believing the stories they are spoon fed, and their inability to see the puppet strings being yanked, resulting in them lashing out at the world, and believing it is all such a horrible, terrible, scary, and threatening place. Keeping them down. Keeping them actively being their own worst enemy, which ensures they stay out of the way and ineffective in making any truly meaningful change in the world.